Natomas High Students Protest Sexual Assault Photo

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

Dozens of Natomas High students walked off campus today to protest what they allege is a culture of sexual assault.

Students gathered on the corner of San Juan and Fong Ranch roads holding signs and chanting, many of them wearing T-shirts painted with hand prints. Some students could also be seen protesting on the corner of San Juan and Truxel roads.

“There were some students out there making it clear that no woman should be touched without their permission,” Natomas Unified School District spokesperson Deidra Powell told The Natomas Buzz. “Natomas Unified 100% agrees.”

This was second time in less than a week that students have walked off campus in protest.

According to an internal memo sent to Natomas High School staff, the protests stem from an incident during last week when a male student is alleged to have imposed an unsolicited kiss and advance on a female student.

“… we had immediately taken steps to address the situation,” reads the memo sent Monday night by Natomas High principal Scott Pitts.

At press time, Powell said the high school’s administration was still working through its investigation of the alleged inappropriate behavior.

Upset about the incident, some students walked out of class on Friday, Feb. 4. According to the memo, a group of these students walked off campus toward Discovery High School, but returned escorted by Natomas High School staff.

In the memo, Pitts wrote that students then met on campus in the theater and in small groups to voice concerns about the protection of women and respectful treatment of others. School counselors were also on hand to provide support to students, reads the memo.

Students today said they were protesting in solidarity with the reported victim in last week’s incident as well as other students they alleged have had similar experiences of been touched without consent while at school.

“We’re just tired of being silent,” said one senior. “The signs tell it all.”

Student Taliyah T. said last week’s incident “was hidden from parents” and that she was among those students who “wanted to do something” and organized today’s protest because sexual assault “happens to all genders.”

Student protestors said the painted T-shirts represent where people have been touched without their consent. Students also carried signs with messages such as “no means no,” “listen to us,” “she does not dress like a slut you just think like a rapist” and “even my dog understands when I say no.”

Students reported they had permission from Pitts to stage their protest in the school parking lot, or at the intersection of San Juan and Fong Ranch roads, in an effort not to disturb those students who remained in their classes.

Several school administrators and staff members were present during the protest as was the Sacramento Police Department.

“As educators, we support students’ First Amendment rights to express themselves appropriately,” reads the memo from Pitts. “In this way, students become socially-conscious, civic-minded and responsible young adults.”

The protest, which lasted roughly an hour, ended with students returning to campus as a bell rang for the next passing period.

Added the memo from Pitts. “Despite potential controversy, students’ expressions should be respected and encouraged so long as students remain peaceful.” Photo

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